The Halifax Metro is reporting that McGriff The Crime Dog and JB Murray did not arrive as planned today for the opening of training camp. The article makes is sort of unclear but it makes it sound like both players were expected to be there and are no longer on the team. In one way this is good – Halifax needed to thin out it’s roster and it looks like that’s two choice already made for them. On the other hand both these players were important: McGriff is a physical beast and would have seen a lot of time at centre. The team is now down to one centre in McNeal and we can now expect Halifax to spend a lot of time running with either Crookshank or Bailey playing in the middle. Murray is a bit of a surprise as a no show since he knew Andre from his Eastern Commerce days – but then again he is also the guy who signed with six different colleges. With him gone it leaves on Jimmy and Silverhorn as the proven deep threats. SirVal is low percentage from anywhere on the floor and I am not sure about Hammack. Murray also provided another option at the point in case of injury – but that’s a moot point unless SirVal takes off. It is safe to assume that Nathan Clark will not find his way onto the roster as a result of McGriff’s absence, but Murray’s failure to show up definitely creates an opening for one of the local guards to grab themselves a piece of real estate at the end of the bench.
The article also mentions that Eric is flying in tonight, and that Derico Wigginton-Downey was brought in as a last minute invite to the camp. I am sort of amazed that he’s interested in coming back, to be honest. As a neat piece of trivia, he won the 2007 PBBA tournament slam dunk competition by beating Demar Parsons in the final round.
If you’re really into fun, go to that Metro article and count the number of names after the heading “Signed (9).” Good times.
Chad Lucas provides some more details: it sounds like McGriff backed out after considering the possibility of leaving his partner and children behind in California; which seems unfortunate but totally reasonable to me. It’s a tough choice to make and he had to make the one that is right for him and his family. I just wish he would have made it before he signed a contract and had a team buy a plane ticket for him. No word on JB’s absence, but if Cheech and Chong are on The Hour tonight, and it is shot in TO which is Murray’s home town…
We can’t be totally surprised here: it’s the minor leagues, two last second no shows is pretty par for the course. Lewis said they will talk to other players and consider bringing someone else in to camp – I bet you can guess who I want.